Perfect Timing!


Typical Michigan!

Today found me getting up early to go to the drug store & a quick trip to the grocery store. My husband had the TV on and they were saying, over & over, “Today is the VERY LAST big shopping day before Christmas!” Making it sound like there would be herds of people, all jostling for purchases . .  . well, maybe there were/are, but certainly NOT where I went. There were maybe 2 customers in the drug store and about 6 in the grocery store – SCORE! I happily finished up what little shopping I needed to do and came home. Last night our temperatures dipped again AND we got a slight dusting of snow – that wasn’t the bad thing: the roads around us (and in a lot of areas in Michigan) were covered with BLACK ICE – you know, that stuff you can’t really see but will make your car spin out in an instant? Both our sons were out in it and we were VERY glad when they returned home unscathed, later on. Getting into my car at around 9:45 a.m. today the car thermometer happily told me it was a ‘balmy’ 23 degrees F. Brrrrrrrrrrr! It’s supposed to warm up considerably during the next few days, getting up into the mid to high 40’s, so that will be very welcome!

In the oven currently are two big loaves of banana bread – one for us and one for a friend at church. It’s amazing to me: the guys love bananas but sometimes they’ll let an entire bunch (7-8 bananas) go completely mushy! Drives me nuts! Thank heavens for a quick, simple banana bread recipe (I’ve posted it before but it’s worth repeating):

Pam’s Banana Bread

2 eggs
1 box white or yellow cake mix
3-4 really ripe bananas

3/4 C. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Place ingredients in large bowl &
mix until you have a smooth batter.
Fold in chopped nuts (if desired).
Pour batter into a greased & floured
loaf pan. Bake 55-60 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center of
bread comes out clean. Let cool
in pan 10 minutes then finish cooling
on a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf.


I don’t honestly remember WHERE I got the recipe from! It’s very quick & tasty – great for using up those dark bananas!


Spinach Artichoke Dip-Stuffed
Garlic Bread!

1 baguette
1/2 T. oil
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts,
1 (10 oz) bag baby spinach leaves
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 green onions, sliced
salt/pepper, to taste
3 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese, grated (topping)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cut baguette into 4 pieces. Using a
long knife, cut out sides of bread,
leaving some bread along edges. Pull
out loose bread to leave hollow bread
quarters. Heat oil in large pot over
medium-high heat. Add artichokes;
cook 1 minute – reduce heat to medium.
Add spinach & cook until wilted, turning
often. Mix in cream cheese & mozz.; let
melt entirely. Fold in green onions – season
with salt/pepper, remove from heat. Stuff
baguette quarters with mixture, using a
spoon to help pack in the dip. Once stuffed,
transfer to a cutting board. Line up the
quarters to that they fit together; slice
into slices approx. 1 inch thick. Tear a
piece of heavy foil 5-6 inches longer than
baguette. Slide baguette slices off cutting
board onto foil, keeping them together.
In small bowl combine butter & minced garlic.
Loosely cover top of bowl  & microwave
until butter is fully melted. Brush garlic/
butter over baguette allowing some to drip
down between the slices. Make sure to get
all minced garlic on top of bread. Wrap foil
around bread & bake 15 minutes. Unwrap
& bake 5 minutes until top browns lightly.
Remove from oven, top with Parm. cheese
& serve warm. Makes 20 slices


Jalapeno-honey glazed Cheesy
Chicken Poppers!

1 lb. ground chicken
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 T. Jalapeno Tabasco sauce,
divided, plus more to serve
40 mozzarella pearls, drained/
dabbed dry*
oil, for pan frying
3 T. honey

In large bowl combine ground chicken,
salt/pepper & 1/2 tsp. Jalapeno Tabasco.
Create balls out of mixture that are slightly
larger than mozzarella pearls. (should end
up with about 40). Press mozz. balls into
centers of each chicken meatball – use your
palms to roll chicken around cheese entirely,
making sure cheese is fully covered to
prevent leaks. Heat oil over medium-high
heat in skillet.

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

Brown meatballs in batches & remove to a
paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Place browned meatballs on parchment paper-
lined baking sheet. In small bowl combine honey
& remaining Jalapeno Tabasco – brush mixture
over meatballs. Bake 10 minutes until completely
cooked through & glaze begins to darken. Serve
warm with additional Jalapeno Tabasco, to dip.

*IF you can’t find mozzarella ‘pearls’ – I’m guessing
that you could cut mozzarella cheese sticks into
small portions about the same size as a pearl???
This is PAM’S comment


Rueben Rolls

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
3 T. spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp. prepared horseradish
5 (10 inch wide) flour tortillas,
room temp.
7 (2 oz ea) pkgs. thinly sliced deli
corned beef
15 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 (14 oz) can sauerkraut, rinsed &
well drained

In small bowl beat cream cheese,
mustard & horseradish until blended.
Spread a heaping tablespoonful of
mixture over each tortilla. Layer each
tortilla with 8 slices corned beef, 3
slices cheese, another heaping
tablespoonful of cream cheese mixture
& 1/2 C. sauerkraut. Roll up tightly &
chill 1 hour.
Cut each roll into 1/2 inch slices.
Makes about 8 dozen.


Cherry Chocolate Chip Bars

1 (16 oz) pkg. refrigerated Chocolate
chip cookie dough
3/4 C. oats
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
1/3 C. sweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl break up cookie dough
using hands. Knead in oats & mix until
evenly incorporated. Press 2/3 of dough
into a lightly greased 8″ X 8″ baking pan,
reserving 1/3 dough. Bake 12-14 minutes
until crust is just set.
In small bowl lightly beat egg; set aside. In
another bowl beat cream cheese until
smooth with no lumps. Beat in sugar then
stir in vanilla & egg; spread cream cheese
mixture over cookie crust. Pour pie filling
over cream cheese layer. Evenly sprinkle
remaining cookie dough over top then top
with shredded coconut. Bake 20-25 minutes
until set or lightly golden. Let cool
completely then cover & refrigerate 2-3


Chinese Cabbage Salad

2 to 2 1/2 lb. nappa cabbage
5 green onions, sliced
3 pkgs. ramen noodles (any flavor)
1/2 C. butter
1/4 C. sliced almonds
1/4 C. sesame seeds

3/4 C. peanut oil*
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. rice vinegar
2 T. soy sauce

Cut tail end off cabbage (discard). Thinly
slice rest of cabbage & place in large
bowl; add green onions to bowl. Open
ramen noodle pkgs; discard flavor pkts.;
place noodles in a gallon ziplock bag &
pound into small pieces using a meat
tenderizer. Heat large skillet over medium-
high heat; melt butter & add almonds,
sesame seeds & crushed noodles. Cook
mixture, stirring frequently, until all
turns a nice brown; set aside to cool.

*If you cannot find peanut oil:
Place 3 T. peanut butter in glass measuring
cup; pour canola oil in cup – total measure-
ment with oil & peanut butter should be
3/4 C. Place mixture in microwave & heat
30 seconds. Stir until peanut butter dissolves.
In medium saucepan pour sugar, peanut oil
(OR peanut butter/oil mixture), soy sauce &
rice vinegar. Bring to rolling boil over medium-
high heat. Boil 1 minute then set aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, toss cabbage &
green onions with crunchy ramen mixture &
pour dressing over top – stir to coat & serve
immediately. Serves 15


Crispy/Crunchy Chicken Parmesan

6 (6-8 oz) boneless skinless chicken
5 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. water
6 oz. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
( 1 1/2 C.)
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T. chopped fresh basil
1/3 C. Panko bread crumbs

Cooked pasta

Season chicken with salt/pepper. Heat
1 T. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat. Add onion, tomato
paste, garlic, 1/2 tsp. oregano, pepper
flakes, 1/4 tsp. salt & 1/4 tsp. pepper;
cook until onions are soft & tomato
paste is rust-colored. Place tomato
paste mixture in crockpot & stir in
drained tomatoes. Dissolve cornstarch
in water & stir into tomato mixture. Lay
chicken breasts on top of tomato
mixture with tapered ends pointing
towards outside of crockpot, slightly
overlapping each other. Cover & cook
on Low until chicken reaches 160 degrees
F., 2 1/2 to 4 hours.
Combine mozzarella & 2 T. Parmesan
cheese in a bowl. Sprinkle chicken with
2 T. chopped basil & top with cheese
mixture. Turn off crockpot (keep lid on) –
let set until cheese is melted. While
cheese is melting, heat remaining 2 tsp.
oil & Panko breadcrumbs in 12″ nonstick
skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring
often, until well browned, 3-5 minutes.
Transfer toasted breadcrumbs to a bowl.
Let crumbs cool slightly & stir in
remaining 2 T. Parmesan, remaining 1 T.
basil, remaining 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp
salt & pepper. Sprinkle Panko mixture
over cheese & serve over cooked pasta.


Turtle Pudding Cake

1 1/2 C. Bisquick mix
1 C. brown sugar, plus additional 1/4
C. for topping
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C. milk
1/4 C. caramel sauce plus additional
1/4 C. for topping
1 2/3 C. hot water
1/2 C. chopped pecans

Grease crockpot or line with liners or
parchment paper. In mixing bowl, combine
Bisquick, milk, 1 C. brown sugar, cocoa
powder & 1/4 C. caramel sauce; mix until
well combined (batter will be thick). Spread
on bottom of crockpot. Sprinkle with 1/4 C.
brown sugar. Pour hot water on top of batter-
DO NOT STIR. Cover & cook on Low 2-3 hours
until knife inserted into center comes out
clean. Let cool with lid off 10-15 minutes.
Pour 1/4 C. caramel sauce & pecans on top
before serving. Serves 4


Baked Chicken Nachos

2 medium sweet red peppers,
1 medium green pepper, diced
3 tsp. oil, divided
1 (15 oz) can black beans,
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/4 C. shredded rotisserie
chicken (fully cooked)
4 1/2 tsp. lime juice
1/8 tsp. salt
7 1/2 C. tortilla chips
8 oz Pepper Jack cheese,
1/4 C. thinly sliced green
1/2 C. minced fresh cilantro
1 C. sour cream.
203 tsp. diced pickled jalapeno
peppers (optional)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large skillet saute peppers in
1 1/2 tsp. oil 3 minutes until
crisp-tender – transfer to a small
bowl. In same skillet saute beans,
garlic, oregano & cumin 3 minutes
until heated through. Combine
chicken, lime juice, salt/pepper. In a
greased 9 X 13″ baking dish layer
half of tortilla chips, pepper mixture,
bean mixture, chicken, cheese, onions
& cilantro – repeat layers.
Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes until
heated through. Serve with sour cream
& pickled jalapenos, if desired.
Makes 16 servings.


Peppermint Bark Brownies

1 (20 oz) box fudge brownie mix
1 (12 oz) pkg. white chocolate chips
2 tsp. butter
3/4 C. candy cans, crushed

Prepare & bake brownies accordg.
to pkg. directions, using a 9 X 13″
greased pan. Cool completely in
pan, about 1-2 hours.
In saucepan over very low heat
melt chocolate chips & butter,
stirring constantly with a rubber
spatula. Spread choc. mixture over
brownies & sprinkle with crushed
candy canes. Let stand 30 minutes
until frosting hardens. Cut into
squares, makes 2 dozen


Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake
w/White Chocolate Glaze

2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T. orange zest
6 T. orange juice, divided
1 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz) pkg. white chocolate
chips, divided
1 1/2 C. fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In small bowl mix flour, baking
powder & salt; toss to combine. In
bowl of stand mixer mix butter,
brown & gran. sugar; beat until
fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs; mix 1
minute. Add orange peel, orange
juice & vanilla; mix until combined.
Add flour mixture to wet mixture
beat 1 more minute – scrape bottom
of bowl to ensure all ingredients are
incorporated. Add 1 C. white choc.
chips & cranberries; mix well.
Spray a bundt pan with nonstick
spray – dust pan with flour. Carefully
spoon batter into pan & smooth out
top. Bake 45-55 minutes until a
toothpick inserted into center comes
out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes then
invert cake onto a cooling rack to cool
In medium saucepan mix 1 C. white choc.
chips, 3 T. orange juice & dash of salt;
stir over medium-high heat until
chocolate has melted & is smooth;
drizzle over top of cake.
Serves 12



I can now honestly say that ALL of our
Christmas decorations are UP! YAY!
Tonight is my church choir’s rehersal
for tomorrow (Christmas contata) –
should be a short practice, we’re only
going over the order of the songs, getting
the sound & lighting right & letting the
choir know just when people will
be reading scripture verses before our
songs; hopefully 6-8 p.m.

Almost done with the white baby
afghan! I’m guessing there’s about
an hour’s worth of knitting left on it –

Hope your holiday preparations are
going even BETTER than you’d
anticipated! Remember to get some
rest, yourself, while getting all those
last minute things done!




A Morning of Miscellaneous!

knitting sheep

Down to the last small ball of white yarn for Baby Blanket #1 – the one that ‘might’ become a baby shower gift for a friend in our church choir – IF she’s having a girl (it’s too fussy for a boy). Today was Purple Heart pick up – I woke up at 5:30 a.m. (potty break) and then couldn’t go back to sleep. I lay there thinking of all the things I needed to do, etc. – heard our chiming clock in the dining room chime 6 a.m. then 6:30 then I must have fallen back asleep. Was quietly awakened by husband reminding me Purple Heart would be by for pick up and did we have the ‘stuff’ all ready to go? (No – still had to organize it a bit). Do you ever have those moments where you and someone else totally don’t agree? I had stuck a small plastic bag of pot pourri in with the ‘things to go’ – it was part of a gift from one of my special needs kids. I’m pretty fussy when it comes to smells – many give me a migraine, so I have to really be careful. Let’s just say THIS smell was really obnoxious! Husband kind of made a fuss, saying he really LIKED it! (it was SO strong you could still smell it through TWO ziplock bags AND a paper bag! The smell lingered in the dining room long after the things were put on the porch for pick up!) Oh well . . .

Have you ever had really goofy dreams? Add one of those to the ‘right after can’t sleep’ this morning. I really didn’t remember it until I went to file my nails (two snapped off last night and I thought I’d just re-do my nails/polish in the morning) and thought to myself: “I thought I ALREADY filed them!” Had a dream that I went to file my nails and the end of the file came off in my hands, but was able to finish the filing – strange. Also segued into a dream about me driving a very old 1940’s dark green car (you know those old, very fat/rounded cars?). I ended up driving into a parade and couldn’t find a way to get out of the parade! It seems my brakes were failing on the car and even when I put it in Park it still slowly drifted into another car! Some lady in a white & red sweater (YES, I dream in color!) came to the window and yelled at me. CRAZY DREAM! There was more but it was even more disjointed! Glad husband woke me up! Let’s see – what did I eat last night just before bed? Ah – yes! Husband had brought home some Fritos (my favorite snack) and I had some while reading. Hmmmmm – guess I won’t be doing THAT again just before bed!


White Chocolate ‘Ting-a-lings’

3 1/2 C. chow mein noodles
2 1/2 C. salted cocktail peanuts
32 oz. white chocolate candy coating
candy sprinkles

Mix chow mein noodles & peanuts in
large bowl. Melt white choc. over Low
heat until smooth; pour over chow
mein noodles/nuts & mix well. Drop
by spoonfuls onto waxed paper & top
with candy sprinkles before mixture
cools. Cool completely & store at
room temp.


Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1/4 C. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 C. seasoned bread crumbs
3 tsp. dried basil
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
30 large fresh mushrooms, about
1 1/2 lb., stems removed
3 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large skillet cook sausage, onion
& garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes
until sausage is no longer pink/onion is
tender; drain. Add cream cheese &
Parm. cheese – cook, stirring, until melted.
Stir in bread crumbs, basil & parsley. Place
mushroom caps on greased 15 X 10 X 1″
baking pan, stem sides up. Brush tops with
butter & spoon sausage mixture into each
cap. Bake, uncovered, 12-15 minutes until
mushrooms are tender. Makes 2 1/2 dozen


Salted Caramel Eggnog Cheesecake

NOTE: it is VERY important that
all ingredients be at room temperature

2 C. graham crackers, pulsed into crumbs
1/3 C. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (can use table salt)
7 T. unsalted butter, melted

Eggnog Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese, very
1 3/4 C. eggnog
1/4 C. sour cream
1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks,
room temp.
2 T. flour

Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 C. granulated sugar
6 T. unsalted butter, cut into
small cubes
1/2 C. heavy cream
3/4 tsp. flaky sea salt, divided
(can use table salt)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In blender or food processor combine
graham crackers, sugar & salt; pulse
until crackers are fine crumbs. Add
melted butter; stir well to combine.
Press mixture into a lightly greased
9″ springform pan.

In body of high powder blender/food
processor/stand mixer fitted with whisk
OR large bowl using hand-held mixer,
beat softened cream cheese until smooth.
Add eggnog & sour cream; beat smooth,
scraping down sides of bowl. Add sugar &
vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs &
yolks, beat until smooth. Stir in flour,
mixing just until combined. Pour filling
into prepared crust; spread to smooth.
Wrap bottom of pan in foil (recommended
using several layers – in case of leaks)
Place cheesecake pan into another large
pan (should be wide enough to comfortably
fit springform pan holding cheesecake &
deep enough to hold a few inches of water
without risk of a spill). Fill outside pan up
with very hot water; should rise half way
along cheesecake pan. Be sure to pour the
water in slowly, so it doesn’t splash onto
Place pan in preheated oven & bake
1 hour 20 minutes. Turn oven off & let
cheesecake set, undisturbed, 45 minutes
inside the oven with door shut. Cheesecake
should still be wiggly in center.
Remove cheesecake from oven, run a knife
very gently around edge of cake; let set
in pan another 15 minutes before
covering loosely with plastic wrap &
refrigerating at least 6 hours.
When ready to serve, top with salted
caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Sauce:
Add sugar to medium, heavy bottom
saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir
30 seconds, increase heat to medium –
stirring constantly with wooden spoon,
cook until sugar transforms from clumps
into a smooth amber-brown liquid. Pay
close attention: sugar burns FAST. Once
sugar has completely melted, add butter.
BE CAREFUL: butter will make caramel
ferociously spatter when you add it.
Stir butter into caramel sauce until
completely melted, then slowly drizzle in
heavy cream, constantly stirring the
entire time. Be careful, adding cream will
also cause sauce to spatter!
Boil caramel 1 minute, allowing it to
rise in pan as it cooks. Remove pan from
heat & stir smooth. Whisk in 1/2 tsp.
flaky sea salt, cinnamon & vanilla -cool
at least 20 minutes before drizzling over
cheesecake. DO NOT touch caramel before
this time – it is dangerously hot.
Sprinkle remaining sea salt on top of
cheesecake just before serving.
Cover tightly – can be stored in fridge
up to 2 weeks. Warm caramel sauce in
microwave up to10 seconds before pouring
over cheesecake.
Recommendation by poster:
If there are any leftovers: slice cheesecake
without caramel, then drizzle caramel over
each slice right before serving. This will help
the cheesecake stay firm & fresh


Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. chopped Granny Smith apples
2 T. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. dried cranberries, chopped

graham crackers/sugar cookies for dipping

Mix cream cheese, apples, honey &
cinnamon until blended; shape into
a ball & chill 1 hour. Roll ball evenly
in chopped nuts & cranberries. Serve.
Serves 16


Lazy Hawaiian Chicken

5-6 boneless chicken breasts (approx
2 1/2 lb.)
1 (16 oz) can pineapple slices, drained
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 C. corn starch
1/2 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. soy sauce
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground ginger
salt/pepper, to taste

cooked rice

Spray insides of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Place chicken in crockpot. In bowl
whisk together corn starch, brown sugar,
soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger & salt/
pepper – pour over chicken. Pour in
drained pineapple slices & mandarin
oranges. Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours.
Serve over cooked rice
Serves 6-8


5-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies
(not too sweet & melts in your

3 C. butter, softened
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar, sifted
4 1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 C. cornstarch

halved candied cherries or

Preheat oven 300 degrees F.
In large bowl cream butter & powdered
sugar until light & fluffy. Gradually add
flour & cornstarch, beating until well
blended. With hands lightly dusted
using additional cornstarch, roll dough
into 1 inch balls. Place, 1 inch apart, on
ungreased baking sheets. Press lightly
with a floured fork then top with cherry
halves or nonpariels. Bake 20-22 minutes
until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool
5 minutes before removing from sheets
to wire racks. Makes 16-18 dozen.


Fried Stuffing
(4 hour or overnight recipe)

7 C. cooked stuffing
3/4 – 1 C. warm chicken broth
8 T. olive oil, divided
salt, for serving

Line a 9 X 9″ square baking pan with
2 long sheets of plastic wrap, letting
ends hang over sides of pan (you will
use these for handles). In large bowl
add stuffing & 3/4 C. warm chicken
broth; stir to combine. Stuffing should
be saturated & hold together when
squeezed but no be too soggy or
soupy. Add remaining 1/4 C. broth,
if needed. Transfer stuffing to
prepared pan & refrigerate at least
4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven 250 degrees F.
Turn stuffing onto cutting board
using plastic wrap handles to remove
from pan – peel off plastic wrap. Slice
stuffing square into 4 squares then
slice each square to make 8 triangles;
slice each triangle again ( on bias)
to make 16 triangles.
In large nonstick skillet over high heat,
add 3 T. olive oil & heat until oil
shimmers, about 2 minutes. Place
4-5 triangles in pan & cook without
moving, until browned & crisp, about
5 minutes. Use a spatula to turn over &
cook on other side until browned,
about 5 minutes longer. Transfer
triangles to wire rack placed over a
baking sheet then place in oven to
keep warm. Repeat with remaining
triangles; adding more oil as needed.
Serve drizzled with 1-2 T. remaining
oil & sprinkle with salt. Makes 16


Salmon Spread

1 (14-15 oz) can red salmon*
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
room temp.
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp. salt
1 small onion, finely diced
(about 3/4 C.)

Crackers or fresh cut veggies,
for dipping

Beat cream cheese, liquid smoke,
horseradish & salt using wooden
spoon (or paddle attachment of
stand mixer) until creamy &
smooth. Drain salmon & remove/
discard skin & bones. Stir salmon
& onions into cream cheese mixture
& mix until well combined. Add
more salt, liquid smoke and/or
horseradish to your taste. Spoon
into a serving bowl & refrigerate
until ready to serve.
You can also shape this into a
salmon BALL: Line a round bowl
with plastic wrap & add spread,
pressing mixture to sides of
bowl & leveling top. Refrigerate
until firm then shape into a ball.

*It is really necessary to ONLY USE
RED salmon. It’s more expensive,
but much tastier. You can use pink
salmon, if you choose or fresh cooked


Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 C. light brown sugar
1 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/4 C. flour
1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

2 T. butter, melted
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/4 C. corn syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp. salt

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Add butter, pecans, brown sugar,
corn syrup, salt & beaten eggs to
medium non-stick pan. Cook over
medium-high heat until thickened.
Do not overcook – it should be
the same consistency as pudding;
remove from heat.
In stand mixer or large bowl using
elec. mixer, blend butter, brown
sugar, gran. sugar, vanilla & eggs.
In medium bowl stir together flour,
cocoa, baking soda & salt. Gradually
add flour mixture into butter
mixture; blend until combined. Drop
the dough by tablespoonful onto
prepared baking sheets, 12 cookies
per sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove
from oven & top cookies with
approximately 1 T. filling onto center
of each cookie. Place back in oven &
cook 4 minutes. Remove from oven &
allow to cool on sheets. Makes 3 dozen.


Italian Sausage Pasta Bake

1 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (mild or hot),
cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet red pepper, coarsely
1 (28 oz) jar meatless spaghetti
sauce (chunky-style)
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. fennel seed
5 C. penne pasta
1 pkg. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
3 C. shredded Provolone cheese (or
3 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded)
1 C. grated Asiago cheese (or 1 C.
Parmesan cheese)

Brown sausage over medium-high heat
in batches, in skillet (adding olive oil,
if needed to prevent sticking). Transfer
to a bowl (pour off any fat from pan).
Add onions, garlic & red pepper, cook
over medium heat, stirring occasionally,
5 minutes until softened. Stir in pasta
sauce, tomato sauce, basil, oregano &
fennel seeds; bring to boil. Return
sausage to pan; cover & simmer 15
minutes until sausage is firm throughout.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large pot of salted boiling water,
cook pasta 6 minutes; add spinach &
cook 1 minute. Drain well & return to
pot. Add sausage mixture & Provolone/
Asiago cheese; stir to combine well. Transfer
to a greased 8 inch square baking dish
(Or a 9 X 13″ pan). Sprinkle with Asiago/
Parmesan cheese. Cover with greased
foil. Bake, covered, 30 minutes.
Serves 8-10


Honey-Garlic Glazed Meatballs

2 large eggs
3/4 C. milk
1 C. dry bread crumbs
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
2 tsp. salt
2 lb. ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. butter
3/4 C. ketchup
1/2 C. honey
3 T. soy sauce

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
In large bowl combine eggs & milk.
Add bread crumbs, onion & salt.
Crumble beef over mixture; mix well.
Shape into 1″ balls, place on greased
racks in shallow baking pans. Bake,
uncovered, 12-15 minutes until
meat is no longer pink. In large
saucepan, saute garlic in butter
until tender; stir in ketchup, honey
& soy sauce. Bring to boil, reduce
heat & cover. Simmer 5 minutes.
Drain meatballs; add to sauce.
Carefully stir to evenly coat.
Cook 5-10 minutes. Makes 5 1/2


Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch Candy

1 C (2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 C. sugar
3 T. water
1 T. light corn syrup
2 C. diced pecans or slivered
almonds, toasted
1 lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate,
finely chopped (if using choc. chips-2 2/3 C.)

In large deep saucepan melt butter; stir in
sugar, water & corn syrup – bring to a boil.
Boil gently over medium heat,without
stirring, until mixture reaches hard-crack
stage (300 degrees F.) on a candy thermo-
meter. Syrup will bubble without seeming to
change much for awhile, but it will darken &
at that point you need to take the temp.*
Should take about 10-12 minutes. Pay
attention: too long on heat & syrup will
While sugar mixture is cooking, spread half
of nuts in an even layer (fairly closely packed)
on a lightly greased baking sheet (a half sheet
pan works well). Top with half of chocolate;
when syrup is ready pour it quickly & evenly
over nuts & chocolate. Immediately top with
remaining chocolate then remaining nuts. Wait
several minutes, then gently, using back of a
spatula, press down on choc./nut layer to
spread the chocolate around evenly. While
candy is still warm use a spatula to loosen it
from the baking sheet. When cool, break into
uneven chunks.
Makes about 24 big bite-sized pieces.

*If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test
a dollop in ice water; it should immediately
harden to a brittleness sufficient that you will
be able to snap it in two without bending or


Still have lots of holiday recipes for you –
the challenge, for me, is getting them all
typed up and passed on to you BEFORE
the day! (Some, I’ve saved, for after –
great ‘leftovers’ recipes!)

Well, we finally got the quandry of the
Christmas day dinner schedule ironed out –
YAY! Oldest son & I were texting back &
forth last night (he needed a suggestion
for what to get his Dad) and I brought up
the TIME for the dinner, again. He then
said: “What if we do dinner at 3?” GREAT!
THAT would work – at least it wouldn’t
feel so much like we were doing brunch!
(I’m a traditionalist – DINNER is in the
EVENING!) As a child I went to several
holiday dinners at other peoples
houses and they had theirs at noon –
UGH! Just not me! We agreed that
oldest would just bring a veggie
tray (he’s the chef and LOVES to kind
of ‘over-do’) – he was saying well, I’ll
bring that and I could also do – – –
I stifled it by telling him I also bought
a big shrimp tray (his Dad LOVES those
and was kind of hinting about getting
one – he doesn’t know I got one!)
so I’m MORE than sure that if we
have shrimp, then dinner PLUS
desserts we’ll be STUFFED! Especially
if we have to do it all within a 2 1/2
hour time frame. (Grandson has to
go to his mother’s by 6:30 p.m. for
dinner there). You know – in years
past I always kind of wondered why
grandson only had a few carrots
and maybe a little mashed potatoes
but really didn’t want to EAT dinner,
per se . . . now I know! He pigged
out at the other house! (boy, am
I dense, huh?). Last night while
going over the menu with my son
I suddenly realized I’d forgotten
a ‘tradition’ – the Happy Birthday,
Jesus cake! We’ve been doing that
since the boys were really little;
it’s just a chocolate layer cake on
which I pipe ‘Happy Birthday,
Jesus!’ and then put a little
plastic baby in a manger on top.
I remember watching TV when our
oldest was just a little baby and
seeing Dale Rogers (Roy Rogers wife –
remember them?) – they were
interviewing her and she was telling
about her family Christmas traditions.
She said that she baked a cake every
year and did what I mentioned above.
I thought that was a great idea and
have been doing it ever since. The
only difference was-she put jelly
beans in the cake! I tried that the
first time – didn’t like it at all – they’re
REALLY sticky & SUPER sweet! YUCK!
We just do a chocolate layer cake
with chocolate frosting. That’s on my
‘to do’ list for next week. Am still
doing great on the ‘things to do’ part-
haven’t wrapped the presents yet,
but then I usually wrap them Christmas
Eve. All gifts are purchased (YAY! Thank
you, Amazon Prime!) – am sort of re-
thinking adding a little more to oldest
son’s girlfriend’s present. She’s getting
the same things I gave to the lady
leaders in my spec’l. needs group: Big
Almond body wash, Yardley’s Almond
(soap) bar, a body scrubber (those net
things), 2 knit spa cloths and a pair
of fuzzy slip on slippers. Am thinking
of adding a big candy bar, too – we’ll
see. Do you do that? Keep adding more
‘stuff’ to a gift? I go a little overboard
on that most years. The boys are now
all grown and really don’t need candy
but their stockings still have it! It’s fun
and it’s only once a year, right?

Well, dears, I’ve really written an epic
tome today! Weather’s chilly but holding,
according to we’re sitting at
30 degrees F. with a 20 – 70% chance of
snow showers, then snow likely (great –
sigh). Tonight 50% chance of snow showers,
followed by ‘scattered flurries’ tomorrow.
Looks like Sunday night will be 50% chance
of showers & 41, so maybe the white stuff
won’t stay! Hopefully!

Keep your chin up – Christmas is
coming! (AND – if you keep your chin
up – you can catch snow flakes on your
tongue!) hehehe



Oh, my achin’ tootsies!


The Terrific Trio!

Lois, Cheryl & me

Last night was my special needs group’s Christmas dinner/program and I ran my little feeties off! (in 1  1/2 inch church shoes, no less!) We had prepared for 200 and only had about 90 or so, so there was LOTS of food leftover. (I got to bring home a big bag of already cooked meatballs – part of that will go into tonight’s spaghetti, for dinner!). It was great re-connecting with some of the parents we hadn’t seen in years – lots of hugs, smiles & laughter (and now I have TWO WEEKS OFF! YAY!)

Attempting to get everything done ahead of time, I went to three grocery stores today – pretty much have all the Christmas dinner foods purchased (including a shrimp ring that wasn’t really planned but husband was interested, so I got it!). Still don’t know the ‘schedule’ for that day as far as dinner goes – right now I’m just ‘winging it’ until I hear a  more definite plan. (situation rides on who gets grandson for dinner that day/when). Every other year (for 9 years now) we have done dinner at our house at around 6:30/7 p.m. – he & his dad (our oldest son) would come over. Grandson would have spent the early part of the day with his mother & her family – THIS YEAR she decided to change things up – she’s doing dinner at our old time! That leaves us with only LUNCH! (Son has to work Christmas Eve AND day after Christmas – this is the chef) – not sure, yet, what’s happening. . . but I guess we’ll just roll with the punches. If necessary, guess I’ll cook the 21 lb. turkey the night before, slice it & re-warm on the day . . . sigh.


TONS of appetizers/desserts coming in!!!

Gorgonzola/Cranberry Cheese Ball

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. (4 oz)crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 C. dried cranberries
2 T. EACH: finely chopped onion, celery,
green pepper & sweet red pepper
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
3/4 C. chopped pecans

assorted crackers, for dipping

In small bowl combine cheeses. Stir in
cranberries, veggies & pepper sauce.
Shape mixture into a ball, wrap in
plastic wrap & refrigerate 1 hour until
firm. Roll ball in chopped nuts & serve
with crackers. Makes 2 C.


Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
toffee bits

sliced apples, pears, pretzels for serving

Place softened cream cheese on a serving
dish. Pour, evenly, as much caramel sauce
as you want over cream cheese. Sprinkle
top with generous helping of toffee bits.
Serve with above fruits/pretzels – use
a knife to place some of spread on top
Serves 8


Coconut Cheesecake Squares
w/Caramel Topping

30 square shortbread cookies
finely crushed (about 2 C.)
1/3 C. butter or marg, melted
1 C. sugar, divided
3 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. coconut, toasted/
3/4 C. caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix cookie crumbs, butter & 1/4 C.
sugar; press into bottom of 9 X 13″
baking pan. Beat cream cheese, vanilla
& remaining sugar in large bowl until
blended. Add eggs, mix just until blended.
Stir in 1 C. coconut; pour over crust.
Sprinkle with remaining coconut & bake
30 minutes until center is almost set.
Cool/refrigerate several hours. Serve
topped with caramel topping.
Serves 16

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Chocolate Peanut Drops (candy)

4 oz. German sweet chocolate, chopped
1 (12 oz) pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 pkgs. (10-12 oz, ea) white baking chips
2 (16 oz, ea) jars lightly salted dry roasted

Layer ingredients in order listed above in
crockpot – do not stir. Cover & cook on Low
1 1/2 hours. Stir to combine. If chocolate
is not melted, cover & cook 15 minutes
longer; stir. Repeat in 15 minute increments
until chocolate is melted. Drop mixture
by rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed
paper. Let stand until set. Store in air-
tight container at room temperature. Makes
about 11 dozen candies.

Chocolate Peanut BARK:
(same ingredients)

Cook chocolate mixture as directed; spread
into two 15″ X 10″ X 1″ waxed paper-lined
baking pans. Refrigerate 30 minutes until
firm. Cut into bite-sized pieces.


 Mississippi Jam Cake

1 box spice cake mix
1 C. buttermilk*
1/3 C. applesauce
1/3 C. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 C. blackberry jam (or your
choice of flavors)
1 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. butter
1 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. milk
2 C. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine cake mix,
buttermilk, applesauce, oil, eggs,
cinnamon & jam; mix well. Add
vanilla & beat again. Place in
either a tube pan or 2 (9″) round
layer pans. Bake in tube: 50
minutes or layer: about 30 minutes.
In a heavy saucepan, bring to a
boil butter & brown sugar; boil
about 2 minutes. Add milk & bring
back to boil. Remove from heat &
add powdered sugar & vanilla; beat
until smooth. Spread over cooled

*If you don’t have buttermilk:
Pour 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar
into a 2 C. measuring cup. Pour
enough milk into cup to come to
1 Cup. Stir mixture and let set
5 minutes. Use as buttermilk.

(recipe: Mary Free-Marys Recipe

Cornish Hens stuffed with Rice

3/4 C. chopped onion
3/4 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. butter, softened/divided
3 C. cooked rice
3/4 C. raisins
1/3 C. chopped walnuts
3 T. honey
2 T. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 Cornish game hens (20-24 oz, ea)

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large skillet saute onion & celery in
3 T. butter until tender; remove from
heat. Stir in rice, raisins, walnuts, honey,
lemon juice, cinnamon, salt/pepper –
stuff hens with mixture. Place hens on
a rack in a large shallow baking pan. Rub
remaining butter over skins. Bake,
uncovered, 1 hour until a meat thermometer
reads 180 degrees F. Serves 6

Lemon-Garlic Penne with Crab

2 C. uncooked penne pasta
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 C. butter, cubed
2 T. olive oil
1 (14 1/2 oz) can chicken broth
2 (6 oz, ea) cans lump crabmeat,
3 T. lemon juice
1/2 C. minced fresh parsley, divided

lemon wedges

Cook pasta accordg. to pkg. directions.
In large skillet cook garlic in butter,
stirring, over medium heat 2 minutes
until garlic is golden (DO NOT brown).
Add broth, crab & lemon juice; bring
to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered,
12-15 minutes until sauce is reduced by
half. Drain pasta; toss with crab sauce &
1/4 C. parsley. Garnish with lemon wedges
& remaining parsley. Makes 5 servings.

Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bars

1 1/2 C. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1/2 C. flour

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. butter, softened
3 C. powdered sugar
3 T. whipping cream
2 tsp. peppermint extract
dash salt

20 miniature candy canes

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl cream butter, sugar
& cream cheese until light & fluffy.
Add egg & beat 1 minute. Add
vanilla & beat until combined. In
separate bowl combine baking powder,
baking soda, salt & flour; add dry
ingredients to creamed mixture &
mix to combine. Spray large cookie
sheet with nonstick spray; spread
dough over pan. Bake 12-15 minutes
until lightly golden. Allow bars to
cool completely.
Cream all frosting ingredients together.
Add more cream if mixture is too dry
and more powdered sugar it mixture
is too thin. Place 20 miniature candy
canes in large ziplock bag; using a
rolling pin, crush candy into shards.
Spread frosting over cooled bars &
immediately sprinkle crushed candy
canes on top. Allow frosting to set
up (you can refrigerate to speed up
the process). Cut into bars.
Makes 35-40 bars

Italian Wedding Soup

1 small onion, chopped fine
1/3 C. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 large egg
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 slice fresh white bread, crust
trimmed, bread torn into small
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz. ground beef
8 oz. ground pork
fresh ground black pepper

Stir first 6 ingredients into large
bowl to blend. Stir in cheese, beef &
pork. Using 1 1/2 tsp. – shape meat
mixture into 1 inch meatballs &
place on a baking sheet.

Bring broth to a boil in large pot
over medium-high heat. Add meatballs
& Ital. parsley; simmer until meatballs
are cooked through & parsley is tender,
about 8 minutes. Whisk eggs & cheese
in medium bowl to blend. Stir soup in
a circular motion, gradually drizzling
the egg mixture into  moving broth –
stirring gently using a fork to form
thin strands of egg, about 1 minute.
Season soup with salt/pepper. Serve.
You can also add extra grated Parm.
cheese on top of soup when serving.
Serves 8



Gas prices are dropping a bit: $1.76/9 – better
than last week in the high 80’s cents range.

Weather is a little colder but not bad – rained
last night but today it’s just grey & gloomy 39
degrees F. (still no ‘white stuff’, so I’m happy!)

Have a GREAT DAY!!!



Gettin’ it done – slowly!

snowman tree

Got the fiber optic tree up & lit, the bigger tree is ‘assembled’ – with star & lights awaiting husband & I lifting it up onto the top of the baby grand piano to decorate. (I have scoliosis in my back and sitting on the floor assembling & fluffing out all the branches was a little too much for my back, so the rest of lifting/decorating is for today and days to come). I did, however, finish youngest son’s scarf – it’s super long (enough to go around his head, cross at the neck and still have more than enough to keep his chest warm):


It’s all black & very long


I attended our church’s Ladies Christmas Dinner Monday – the food was excellent (always is): prime rib (with horseradish sauce – YAY!), candied carrots, green beans w/ bacon, huge tossed salad, rolls, cranberry jello ‘stuff’ (I’m asking for the recipe – it was REALLY yummy!) and little apple tarts with cream for dessert. The entertainment was simply “a RIOT!” We have our senior pastor, assistant pastor and a young man who’s in school for becoming a pastor, plus another gentleman who form the group: “The Four Waiters” – they only perform for the ladies dinner – they truly out-did themselves this time. The do mime for several Christmas songs and the entire audience was grinning & laughing their heads off – at one point Pastor was miming playing the saxophone to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – great job. It was a great night full of good food, great fellowship and lots of fun – really glad I went.

Tonight is my special needs group’s Christmas dinner & program. I ‘was’ going to go grocery shopping today but then thought about just how long I will be on my feet (in church shoes, no less) and decided I’m going to wait – there’s food in the ‘larder’, so we won’t starve – we can wait a day or two. I love this dinner/program – we, as leaders, get to see parents & family and spend a little time with them as well as enjoy our ‘kids’. My job is basically (when I first get there) to help with whatever needs doing: help set tables, arrange cookies on trays, etc. When it begins, it’s help serve/carry drinks, food, etc. for those in wheelchairs, or those who are unable to manage. After the dinner it’s help with the singing and, at the end, play the piano for 4 Christmas carols plus our signature song:”Amazing Grace” then it’s done. Total time: (I will get there about an hour early) 5:25 – 9 +. Long night, but lots of fun, hugs, etc. I GUARANTEE I’ll be exhausted – always am! Good thing? I’ve got 2 weeks off to recuperate!


Wonton Mozzarella Sticks

12 pieces string cheese
12 egg roll wrappers
oil for deep-frying

marinara or spaghetti sauce,
for dipping

Place 1 piece cheese near bottom
corner of one egg roll wrapper –
keep remaining wrappers covered
with a damp paper towel until ready
to use). Fold bottom corner over cheese,
roll up halfway – fold sides toward
center over cheese. Moisten remaining
corner with water & roll up tightly to
seal; repeat with remaining wrappers &
In a skillet heat 1/2 inch oil to 375 degrees F.
Fry sticks a few at a time 30-60 seconds on
each side until golden brown. Drain on
paper towels & serve with marinara or
spaghetti sauce. Makes 12


Layered Mexican Spread

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. fresh salsa
1 C. (Kraft) Mexican-style finely
shredded 4 cheese
1/2 C. coarsely chopped avocados

crackers, for dipping

Spread softened cream cheese on
bottom of a pie plate; top with remaining
salsa, cheese & chopped avocados.
Serve with crackers.  Makes 16 (2 T.)

(recipe:Kraft recipes)


Mini Sausage Quiches

1/2 lb. bulk hot Italian sausage
2 T. dried minced onion
2 T. minced chives
1 (8 oz) tube refrigerated
crescent rolls
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 C.  shredded Swiss cheese
1 C. cottage cheese
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
In large skillet brown sausage &
onion over medium heat 4-5
minutes until meat is no longer
pink; drain – stir in chives. On lightly
floured surface unroll crescent
dough into one long rectangle;
seal seams & perforations; cut into
48 pieces. Press onto the bottom &
up sides of greased miniature muffin
cups. Fill each cup with about 2 tsp.
sausage mixture. In large bowl combine
eggs & cheeses; spoon 2 tsp. over
sausage mixture & sprinkle tops with
Bake 20-25 minutes until a knife inserted
into center comes out clean. Cool 5
minutes before removing from pans to
wire racks. If desired, sprinkle tops with
additional minced chives. Serve warm;
makes 4 dozen.


Jalapeno Spinach Dip

2 (10 oz, ea) pkgs. frozen chopped
spinach, thawed/squeezed dry
2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs cream cheese,
1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 C. Half & Half
1/2 C. finely chopped onion
1/4 C. chopped seeded jalapeno
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dill weed

tortilla chips, for dipping

In 1 1/2 qt. crockpot combine
first 10 ingredients. Cover &
cook on Low 2-3 hours until
heated through. SErve with
chips. Makes 16 (1/4 C. ea)


Orange Chicken

1 1/2 C. water plus 2 T.
1/4 C. orange juice
2 1/2 T. soy sauce
1/3 C. rice vinegar
1 T. orange zest
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 large chicken breasts cut
into 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 C. cornstarch plus
3 Tablespoons
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
1 C. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cooked rice

Place 1 1/2 C. water, orange juice,
soy sauce, rice vinegar, orange zest,
brown sugar, minced ginger & garlic,
chopped green onion & crushed red
pepper flakes in a saucepan & bring
to boil. Once it starts boiling mix
3 T. cornstarch & 2 T. water & pour
into sauce; simmer & allow to slightly
thicken. Turn off heat & cover.

Heat oil in a deep pan or skillet to
350 degrees F. Place milk in shallow
bowl (for dredging). Place cornstarch
in separate shallow dish (for dredging).
Dredge chunks of chicken in (1) milk
(2) cornstarch (3) milk (4) Panko crumbs.
Fry chicken until golden brown; transfer
to paper towels to drain the grease.
Serve chicken with sauce & cooked rice.


Jewel Bark

3 (4 oz, ea) pkgs. white chocolate,
1/2 C. chopped dried apricots
(about 18)
1/2 C. (Planters) deluxe pistachio
mix, chopped
1/2 C. dried cherries
1 tsp. orange zest

Combine all ingredients & spread
onto waxed paper-covered baking
sheet. Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.
Break into pieces. Makes 16 servings

NOTE: you can substitute 1 C. dried
fruit bits for dried cherries & chopped
dried apricots

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Rosemary & Thyme Turkey
Breast Cutlets

1 lb. thinly sliced turkey
breast cutlets*
1 T. olive oil
1/4 C. white cooking wine **
4 T. butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/3 C. chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat large cast iron skillet over
medium heat. Add oil & swirl
to coat pan. Season cutlets with
salt/pepper on both sides. Once
pan is hot, add cutlets & sear
1 minute per side – remove from
skillet to plate/keep warm. Might
have to do this in batches if skillet
is small. When all turkey is seared,
pour white wine into pan & scrape
bottom to loosen all browned bits.
Once liquid has reduced, lower
temp. to medium-low & add butter,
stirring until butter melts. Add chicken
broth, rosemary & thyme – simmer
a few minutes. Add cutlets back to
pan, including any juices that may
have collect on plate. Coat turkey
with sauce & let simmer a few
minutes until turkey is heated
through. Serves 4-6

*You can substitute thinly sliced
chicken breast or thinly sliced
pork chops

**You can substitute white cooking
wine or chicken broth


7-Layer Magic Cookie Bars

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed
1 C. butterscotch-flavored chips
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 C. flaked coconut
1 C. chopped nuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking pan with nonstick
spray. Combine graham crumbs & butter;
mix well & press firmly into bottom of
prepared pan. Pour sweetened cond.
milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer
evenly using remaining ingredients;
press down firmly with fork. Bake
25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
Loosen from sides while still wram;
cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Makes 30 bars

NOTE: For perfectly cut bars, line
entire pan with foil, extending foil
over edge of pan. Coat lightly with
nonstick spray. After bars have baked
& cooled, lift up by edges of foil to
remove from pan then cut into bars.



Graham Cracker Toffee

15 honey graham cracker sheets
1 C. unsalted butter
1 C. packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped almonds or pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line large baking sheet with parch-
ment paper or foil (if using foil spray
with nonstick spray). Place graham
cracker sheets in single layer, touching,
on sheet. In medium saucepan melt
butter & brown sugar over medium-
high heat; bring to goil & simmer
4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour
mixture evenly over graham crackers &
bake 8 minutes.
Remove from oven & immediately
sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over
top. Let choc. chips set 2 minutes so they
have a chance to melt. Spread melted
choc. chips with a knife or spatula, smoothing
to flat layer. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Let
mixture set 2 hours until chocolate hardens.
(If you’re in a hurry, refrigerate 1 hour or
freeze 30 minutes) When choc. is set up,
break into pieces.



Our weather is still cooperating: it’s supposed
to get colder by Friday with a 60% chance of
snow showers (High 34 degrees F Friday but
by Sunday it’s supposed to get up to 41, so
that’s good!). I’m just glad the weather will
be good tonight, being that we have quite a
few kids in wheelchairs and if the weather is
‘iffy’, they just don’t come.

Now that the scarf is done I just have the two
baby blankets to finish and then it’s off on a
NEW project! I’m WAaaaaaaay behind on baby
hats for the hospital, might just work on some
of those for a change! None of my charity
recipients are pushy about deliveries, so that’s
good (it’s all in MY head – I get to feeling guilty
if I don’t deliver stuff in a 2-3 month time period.)
Oh well – that’s just ‘me’!

Hope your day is going VERY well!



And FINALLY – we have delivery!


Yes, Virginia, there IS a dishwasher! (couldn’t resist – hehehe) Got here bright & early (7:45 a.m.) – they did the test and it works just fine! It’s very quiet but still takes almost an hour to do a ‘regular’ load – sigh. I would have thought that after 30+ years, they would have sped up the washing cycle, but who am I to know these things?

Our weather continues to amaze – it’s a light, misty rain today, overcast and 64 degrees F! No (white stuff) snow – YAY! I would happily go through winter under these conditions but I know that without snow our Great Lakes here in Michigan would suffer greatly – we depend on the melting of the snow for the water tables, so no snow=bad conditions come Spring/Summer – sigh.


LOTS of appetizer recipes coming soon!

Warm Bacon Cheesespread

1 round loaf (1 lb) of
sourdough bread
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 C. (12 oz) sour cream
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
3/4 lb. sliced bacon, cooked/
1/2 C. chopped green onions

assorted crackers

Cut top fourth off loaf of bread;
carefully hollow out the bottom,
leaving a 1″ thick shell. Cut the
removed bread & top of loaf into
cubes (for dipping)

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.

In large bowl beat cream cheese
until fluffy. Add sour cream, Cheddar
cheese & Wors. sauce until blended;
stir in bacon & onions – spoon into
bread shell. Wrap bread bowl in a
piece of heavy-duty foil (about 24″ X
17″). Bake 1 hour or until heated
through. Serve with crackers &
reserved bread cubes. Makes 4 C.


Party Shrimp

1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp,

In large resealable plastic bag
combine first 8 ingredients. Add
shrimp; seal bag & turn to coat.
Refrigerate 2 hours.

Turn on broiler
Drain shrimp, discarding
marinade. Place shrimp on
ungreased baking sheet & broil
4 inches from heat 3-4 minutes
on each side until shrimp turn
pink. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.


Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 C. powdered sugar
2 T. brown sugar
3/4 C. miniature semisweet
chocolate chips
3/4 C. finely chopped pecans

graham crackers, for dipping

In large bowl beat cream cheese,
butter & vanilla until fluffy. Gradually
add sugars & beat just until combined.
Stir in choc. chips; cover & refrigerate
2 hours. Place cheese mixture on large
piece of plastic wrap; shape into a ball.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Just before
serving, roll ball in pecans. Serve with
graham crackers for dippers. Makes 1
(2 C. ) cheese ball.


Easy Strawberry Brownies

1 (15.25 oz) box strawberry
cake mix
2 large eggs
1/3 C. vegetable oil
1/2 C. white chocolate chips

1 C. powdered sugar
2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spray 9 X 13″ baking dish with
nonstick spray. In medium bowl stir
cake mix with eggs & oil (it will
be thick). Scrape batter into prepared
baking dish then sprinkle on white
choc. chips, if using. Spread out
batter evenly in pan. Bake until
brownies are brown around edges &
middle looks set (if you poke the
middle of the brownies with a
toothpick, it should come out
clean). Remove from oven &
cool completely.

Whisk powdered sugar, milk & vanilla
to make glaze & pour over brownies;
smooth with a spatula. Allow glaze to
set before cutting brownies into squares.


Chipotle Shrimp Tostada Bites

1 1/2 lb. medium shrimp (45-55)
1 (7 oz) can chipotle peppers in
adobo sauce
1 T. minced garlic
1/4 C. brown sugar
juice of 1 lime

1 (8 oz) pkg. prepared guacamole
1 bag bite-sized round tortilla chips*
chopped cilantro
finely diced red onion
coarse-grain sea or kosher salt

Peel & devein shrimp. Combine
chipotle peppers in sauce, garlic,
brown sugar & lime juice in large
bowl; mix well. (note: if you want
yours spicy: chop peppers to release
seeds, if not-leave them whole). Add
shrimp & gently stir to combine.
Cover & refrigerate shrimp 4-6
hours to marinate. Do not marinate
shrimp longer than that or the acid
from lime juice will start to react
with the protein in the shrimp.

Cook shrimp on grill, in a grill pan
or in a large skillet greased with oil
or nonstick spray over medium-high
heat 2-3 minutes on each side until
shrimp are cooked through.

Cook in several batches to ensure
shrimp aren’t overcrowded.

(Shrimp can be prepared ahead
of time.)

To assemble:
Spread a dollop of guacamole on each
tortilla chips (about 1 tsp.) Place 1
shrimp on top then arrange tostadas
on serving platter or cutting board.
Sprinkle tops with cilantro, diced red
onion and sea salt. Serve within
ONE HOUR of assembling.

*You might want to buy 2 bags
of chips, as there are usually a lot
of broken chips and you need as
many chips as you have shrimp


Cream Cheese Cookies

1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. softened butter
3 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg yolk (save white)
2 1/4 C. flour

Mix sugar, salt, butter, cream
cheese, almond/vanilla & egg
yolk together well. Stir in flour
until well blended. Refrigerate
at least 30 minutes.
Remove dough from fridge &
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Roll out dough on lightly
floured surface using 1/3 – 1/2 of
dough. Cut dough out using
holiday cookie cutters & place on
an ungreased pan. Cookies do
not expand much so you can put
them close together. Spread egg
white over top of cookies (you can
add sprinkles here). Bake 10 minutes
until light brown. Let cool completely
before frosting.

Sour Cream & Bacon Chicken

8 slices bacon
8 chicken breasts
2 (10.5 oz, ea) cans Roasted Garlic
cream of mushroom soup
1 C. sour cream
1/4 C. flour

Cook bacon over medium Low heat
until some of fat is rendered; bacon
should be pliable, not crisp. Wrap a
piece of bacon around each chicken
breast & place in crockpot; sprinkle
with salt/pepper. In medium bowl
mix soup, sour cream & flour with
wire whisk until blended; pour over
chicken. Cover & cook on Low 6-8
hours. Remove chicken & stir sauce.
Serve with sauce over chicken.

(recipe: Mary Free- Marys Recipe

Peanut Butter Chews
(old recipe)

1 C. powdered sugar
1 3/4 C. powdered milk
1 C. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. creamy peanut butter

powdered sugar for dipping

Place all ingredients in large mixing
bowl; using elec. mixer mix until
well incorporated and a stiff dough
is formed. Remove dough from
bowl & place on flat surface;
knead a time or two using your
hands. Separate dough into
2 halves; roll each half into a ball
& then into a log. Cover each log
with plastic wrap (or place in large
ziplock bag). Refrigerated until
thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour.
Slice into 1/4″ slices & dip each
slice into powdered sugar before
serving. (keeps them from sticking
together). Store remainders
in fridge.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
6 T. brown sugar
1 1/4 C. flour
1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 T. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. milk

Using elec. or stand mixer, cream
butter, sugars & salt, then add
vanilla & milk. Add flour, a little
at a time, while mixing on Low
speed until dough is well combined.
Add chocolate chips & stir by hand.
Use a small scoop or teaspoon to
scrape dough & roll in your hands
into a smooth 1-inch ball. Place
balls on a parchment paper-lined
cookie sheet & freeze 30 minutes.
Melt choc. chips in mini crockpot
or double boiler. Using a toothpick,
dip each ball into the chocolate. Use
a spoon to help fully coat each one.
Place back on cookie sheet & freeze
5-10 minutes to harden. Store in
refrigerator until ready to serve.
Makes 16

Ritzy Chicken Casserole

3-4 chicken breasts, chopped/cooked
OR 1 (14 oz) can chicken
1 (16 oz) pkg. egg noodles, cooked
1 (24 oz) container sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 C. margarine, melted
(optional: 2 T. Poppy seeds)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine chicken, sour cream, soup &
cheeses in large bowl; stir to combine.
Add noodles; gently stir until coated
then pour into greased 9 X 13″ baking
dish. Mix crackers & margarine – sprinkle
over top. (sprinkle with poppy seeds, if
using). Bake 25-30 minutes until crackers
are crispy & golden brown & cheese is
melted. Serves 8


Southwestern Black Bean/Tomato

1 T. olive oil
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. southwest seasoning blend
without salt
2 (15 oz, ea) cans whole black beans,
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce (no salt)
1 (14 oz) can vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt

sour cream
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium
heat. Add onion & pepper; cook 5
minutes until vegetables are tender,
stirring occasionally. Stir in seasoning
blend; cook 1 minute. Add beans, sauce,
broth & salt; mix well. Bring to a boil then
reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15
minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with
sour cream and/or cilantro, if desired.
Serves 6


Pineapple Sheet Cake

2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
2 eggs
1 C. chopped nuts
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 (20 oz) can crushed
pineapple, undrained

Cream Cheese Icing:
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese,
1/2 C. butter, softened
3 3/4 C. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. chopped nuts

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine cake
ingredients; beat until smooth.
Pour into greased 15 X 10 X 1″
baking pan. Bake 35 minutes &
In small bowl combine cream
cheese, butter, powdered sugar &
vanilla until smooth. Spread over
cake & sprinkle top with nuts.
Serves about 24



Not much going on today (Ladies’ Christmas
Dinner later tonight, at church).

Hope your day is going well!



It’s coming together!


3 loaves of Cranberry-Orange bread – done…check! (for neighbors); around 8 dozen (guessing here) baked cookies: Chocolate/Choc. chip, peanut butter, peppermint. 1 dozen are for the mail lady (4 of each kind plus a few mini candy bars thrown in for fun). I was lazy this year: bought the ‘cut & bake’ tubes of cookies (those in the photo are not mine). I still have 2 boxes in the freezer of 72 cut out sugar cookies (still have to buy the frosting for those) plus another box of cut out ginger bread men (not going to get all fancy on those – probably just some frosting) – WHO KNOWS when I’ll get to baking those! Middle son was already up attempting to ‘lighten my load’ of cookies – he got away with 3 (hehehe). Still have to get dressed & deliver the breads to the neighbors, but that can be a little later.

Had the fun of watching the grandson for about 3 hours last night – I’d forgotten how totally random he can be; had me laughing a lot! His dad & I were attempting to go over the Christmas dinner/day, schedule – it’s going to be complicated. Grandson’s mom has decided this year to hold her holiday dinner at around 6:30 p.m. (always in years past it was around noon/1 p.m. then we’d have son & grandson over around 6 p.m. at our house). Don’t have a CLUE, now, how we’re going to work it; son suggested a LUNCH meal instead of dinner – NOT looking forward to that! We’ll see how it all falls together. Son even said HE was thinking of doing the LUNCH at his house – it’s a mess. I’m just going to quietly wait – I’ve already purchased almost all of the ingredients for the dinner – still need rolls and a dessert . . . sigh.


“Tex-Mex” Chopped Chicken Salad

1 C. Ranch salad dressing
2 T. taco seasoning mix (dry)

3 C. cooked chicken, cooled/diced
4 C. chopped romaine lettuce,
about 1 head
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, seeded/diced
1 C. corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed/
4 oz. sharp Cheddar or Pepper Jack
cheese, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime
1 C. crushed tortilla chips
salt/pepper, to taste

Optional toppers:
diced jalapeno
toasted pumpkin seeds
diced avocado
diced jicama

In small bowl stir ingredients for
dressing; refrigerate until ready
to use.
In large bowl toss salad ingredients
together; add dressing, a little at
a time, toss until lightly coated.
Season with salt/pepper, to taste &
serve immediately. Serves 8


Christmas Crack Candy
(toffee saltine cracker candy)

1 1/2 sleeves saltine crackers*
1 1/4 C. unsalted butter (not marg)
1 1/4 C. light brown sugar
1 (12 oz) pkg. chocolate chips (or)
1 (8 oz) pkg. milk chocolate toffee

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with
foil-spray with nonstick spray. Arrange
crackers on sheet in one layer. In
medium saucepan melt butter &
brown sugar. Stir often & bring to full
rolling boil. After mixture comes to
full rolling boil, set timer & boil
mixture exactly 3 minutes. Pour over
saltines & bake 5 minutes. Remove from
oven & sprinkle milk chocolate toffee
bits all over caramel mixture. Let cool
then break into pieces. Store in air-
tight container – or freeze.

*graham crackers can be used in


Crockpot Pepper Steak

1 1/2 lb. beef strips or top sirloin
cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, sliced thick
1/2 onion, sliced

1/2 C. water (divided*)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 T. cornstarch
3 T. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar

cooked rice for 4
Place beef, peppers & onions in crockpot.
Add 1/4 C. water in a glass; drop bouillon
cubes in & microwave 60 seconds. Stir
until cubes dissolve. In small bowl
combine the other 1/4 C. cold water
& cornstarch, soy sauce, ginger, garlic
powder, pepper & brown sugar; whisk
until cornstarch dissolves. Add hot beef
bouillon water to mixture & stir – pour
over beef, etc. in crockpot. Cover & cook
on Low 5 hours. Serve over cooked rice.
Serves 4


BBQ ‘Sticks & Stones’

1 (32 oz) bag frozen meatballs
1 pkg. cocktail weenies
1 (12 oz) jar grape jelly
1 (12 oz) bottle Sweet Baby
Ray’s bbq sauce

Combine all ingredients in
crockpot; heat on Low until
heated through.


Tangy Pineapple Meatballs

1 (40 oz) bag frozen meatballs
1 (16 oz) can pineapple tidbits
1 (24 oz) bottle ketchup
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/4 C. soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in crockpot;
cook on Low 3 hours.


3-Ingredient Cake Mix Cookies

1 box cake mix (any flavor)
2 eggs
1/3 C. oil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together;
roll into balls & place on
ungreased cookie sheet. Bake
8-10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen

(recipe: Facebook)

Buffalo Wing Dip

2 (8 oz, ea) pkgs. cream cheese,
1/2 C. Ranch salad dressing
1/2 C. sour cream
5 T. crumbled blue cheese
2 C. shredded cooked chicken
1/2 C. Buffalo wing sauce
2 C. (8 oz) shredded Cheddar
cheese, divided
1 green onion, sliced

tortilla chips, for dipping

In small bowl combine cream cheese,
dressing, sour cream & blue cheese –
transfer to 3 qt. crockpot. Layer with
chicken, wing sauce & 1 C. cheese.
Cover & cook on Low 2-3 hours until
heated through. Sprinkle with remaining
cheese & onion. Serve with tortilla
chips. Makes 6 Cups.


Avocado, Tomato & Sweet Onion Salad

1 large or 2 medium avocados
juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tsp.)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 medium onion, sliced thin
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. olive oil
kosher salt/fresh ground black pepper
(3-4 large lettuce leaves)

Peel avocado & remove pit; cut into
1 inch chunks & sprinkle with lemon
juice. Add tomatoes,avocado & onion
to large bowl; Sprinkle vinegar over
vegetables; season with salt/pepper.
Drizzle oil over mixture & gently
toss until all ingredients are well
combined. Serve on lettuce leaf,
if desired.

(recipe: Rhonda-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Mini Apple Crumb Cakes
(make ahead recipe)

3 C. flour
1 C. light brown sugar (not
firmly packed)
1 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 C. vegetable oil
1/4 C. applesauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. peeled, diced apple (about
1 large or 2 small apples)
1 C. buttermilk*
1 egg

Line muffin cups with paper liners. Combine
flour, sugars, cinnamon, oil, applesauce,
salt, nutmeg & ginger. Measure 1 1/2 cups
of mixture & place in a bowl, reserve for
To remaining mixture add: baking soda, baking
powder, apples, buttermilk & egg; stir until
barely combined. Spoon mixture into muffin
tins & top with reserved crumbs, lightly
pressing into batter.

Freeze muffin tin in freezer until cups
are solid.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Bake until cooked through & brown on top, about
30 minutes. Gently remove from pan & let cool
10 minutes before serving.



White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

1/2 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. chopped macadamia nuts
1 C. dried cherries

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick
spray. In large bowl combine butter &
sugars. Using elec. mixer, cream butter &
sugars until fluffy & pale, 3-5 minutes. Beat
in egg & vanilla. In separate bowl combine
flour, baking soda & salt; using a wooden
spoon, carefully stir flour mixture into
butter mixture just until combined. Stir in
white choc. chips, cherries & nuts. Drop
by heaping spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.
Bake 8-10 minutes until they just begin
to turn golden around edges. Allow to
cool 2 minutes on sheet before trans-
ferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 2 dozen

Option: You can place the dried cherries
in a bowl & cover with boiling water to
soften them. Let them soak 7-8 minutes
then thoroughly drain. IF you choose
to soak them, only use 1/2 – 3/4 C. dried
cherries as they will expand.



Even though it’s a bit ‘gloomy’ out,
weather is still holding at almost
50 degrees F AND it’s supposed to
get up to 60 tomorrow (with a few
scattered showers) – still GREAT
for December in MICHIGAN!

Gas prices are still at $1.86/9 –
better than $4.00, right?

Hope your Saturday turns out



Ok – I caved!


(not my house)

After thinking of what I ‘might’ have to ‘do’ today I read a couple chapters in the new book I’m working on then got a bad case of the GUILTS . . . traipsed upstairs and started dragging down the Christmas decorations. Got my husband to bring down the two trees. Hung the lighted wreath in the window and turned it on – first ‘decoration’ officially UP! (Just couldn’t face my grandson tomorrow when he comes over saying: “Grandma Pam! WHERE’S your TREE???” (that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll put the tree up by then, but at least he can see I’ve made a ‘start’! (Talk about procrastinating, eh?)

After that, we got a call that youngest son’s car was ready to pick up – husband went to get son at work & finish that little detail. While they were gone I started thinking: “Ya know – if I start NOW I could probably finish the 3 loaves of Christmas bread for the neighbors!” Happy to say that there are 2 loaves of cranberry bread and 1 cinnamon streusel ready to deliver. Got started on the mail lady’s cookies, too! I remembered the recipe from last year – SUPER SIMPLE! These are cake mix cookies – 3 ingredients and you’re good to go for 3 dozen cookies! I had a box of chocolate fudge cake mix so I added about 1 C. chocolate chips to the batter – they turned out really soft & tasty! Recipe below:


Cake Mix Cookies

1 box any flavor cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 C. vegetable oil

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together &
spoon by tablespoons onto
ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 9 minutes.
Makes 3 dozen

Christmas Muddy Buddies
(puppy chow)

9 C. Rice Chex cereal, Corn
Chex or Chocolate Chex –
or a combination
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C. peanut butter
1/4 C. butter or margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar

In large bowl measure cereal.
In 1 qt. microwaveable bowl,
microwave choc. chips, peanut
butter & butter, uncovered, on
High 1 minute; stir. Microwave
about 30 seconds longer until
mixture can be stirred smooth;
stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over
cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
Pour into 2 gallon ziplock bag. Add
powdered sugar, seal bag & shake
until well coated. Spread mixture
on waxed paper to cool. Store in
airtight container in refrigerator.
Makes 18 servings.


Sausage & Cheese Breakfast

1 (16 oz) pkg. breakfast sausage
1/4 C. onion, minced
1 tsp. salt
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 C. shredded sharp Cheddar

1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. water
1 T. granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
3 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Using medium skillet, cook sausage &
onion until sausage is cooked through.
Drain; transfer to medium bowl & allow
to cool. Add remaining ingredients for
filling; stir to combine. In small saucepan,
combine milk, water & sugar – heat over
Low heat until mixture reaches 115 degrees
F. – remove from heat; stir in yeast & let
set 5 minutes. Combine 1 C. flour, salt,
butter, egg & yeast mixture in large
mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed
until blended. Gradually stir in enough
remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured
surface; knead until smooth & elastic
(about 5 minutes). Cover with a
kitchen towel & let dough rest 10
minutes. Roll dough out onto floured
surface into a 8 X 14″ rectangle. Spread
filling evenly over dough, leave a 1″
margin on outer edges. Roll up dough,
starting with long side. Pinch seams to
seal. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll
into 10 equal-sized rolls. Place each roll,
cut side down, into lightly greased
9 X 13″ baking pan (or 10″ pie pan).
Cover & let rise in a warm place 1
hour or until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Bake rolls 25-30 minutes until golden.
Allow rolls to cool in pan on wire rack.
Makes 10 rolls


Ham & cheese Pastry Puffs

Spice Blend:
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 T. chili powder
2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 (17.3 oz) pkg. puff pastry,
1/4 C. Dijon mustard
1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 C. Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 C. white Cheddar cheese,
1 egg, beaten
1 T. water

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Line baking sheets with parchment
paper. Combine all spice blend in
small bowl; mix well. Unfold pastry
sheets & cut each sheet into 9
squares. Spread about 1/2 tsp.
Dijon over pastry; arrange ham &
cheese down center of squares.
Sprinkle with some spice blend
then fold two opposite corners
of each square over filling &
press edges to seal. Place on
prepared baking sheets. Combine
egg & water & brush each pastry
with egg wash. Sprinkle tops of
pastries with more spice blend.
Bake 15-18 minutes until golden
brown. Serve warm or at room
temperature. Makes 18


Italian Mozzarella Chicken

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 tsp. dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce
1 1/2 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 (8 oz) pkg. penne pasta, cooked
1/3 C. green olives w/pimentos, chopped
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Spray inside of crockpot with nonstick
spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt/pepper
on both sides & place in crockpot. Sprinkle
garlic evenly on top of breasts & cover with
marinara sauce. Cover & cook on Low 6
hours (chicken should be cooked through
& tender). Place breasts on lightly greased
baking sheet & sprinkle with mozz. cheese.
Place olives & Parm cheese in crockpot;
stir & heat through. Place chicken under
broiler 2-3 minutes until cheese is
melted & golden (watch to make sure it
doesn’t burn). Pour sauce over cooked
pasta; mix well & serve chicken over
pasta. Serves 6

(recipe: crockpotmoms)

Baked Pineapple-Glazed Baked

1 (12 lb) fully-cooked ham,
bone-in half ham
whole cloves (if desired)
1 C. 7-UP or Ginger Ale*
1 1/2 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. pineapple preserves (or)
well-drained crushed pineapple
1/2 C. pineapple juice
1 T. spicy brown mustard
large can pineapple rings
large jar maraschino cherries

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a deep baking pan with
wide foil to form a tub for the
ham. Place ham in pan, cut-
side down & lightly score fat
on ham by cutting into it
slightly, creating a diamond
pattern. Insert whole cloves
into corners of each diamond,
if desired. Pour 7 UP or ginger
ale over ham, cover loosely
with another piece of foil & bake
30 minutes. Mix brown sugar,
pineapple, mustard; add enough
pineapple juice to form a thick,
but pourable glaze – pour any
remaining juice around ham.
Brush about 1/3 of glaze over
ham & loosely cover with foil.
Return to oven & bake 10-15
minutes until fruit is warmed
through & internal temp. of
ham reads 145 degrees F. on
an instant read thermometer.
Remove & let rest 15 minutes,
then carve around bone &
natural seams of ham, trans-
ferring slices back into pan
juices until ready to serve.
Serves 12+

*May omit 7UP or ginger ale
and use all pineapple juice.

For a smaller ham:
Oven temp. 350 degrees F.
roughly 18 minutes per pound,
until center of ham reaches
145 degrees F. Check instructions
on your brand of ham for their


Easy Christmas Peppermint

1/4 C. butter, softened
1/3 C. light corn syrup
3-4 C. powdered sugar, divided
1-2 tsp. peppermint or mint
extract (or your choice of flavors)
food coloring – preferably gel or paste
1/2 C. granulated sugar (to roll balls

Combine butter & corn syrup in small
bowl. Add 2 C. powdered sugar, your
choice of extract – mix well until
combined. NOTE: add extract 1/2 tsp.
at a time until mixture reaches your
desired flavor. Stir in an addition
cup of powdered sugar. Turn mixture
out onto a cutting board sprinkled
with 1/2 C. powdered sugar. Knead
mixture until sugar is absorbed &
is completely smooth, adding
additional powdered sugar, if needed.
Divide dough into three portions.
Tint one portion red (using food coloring)
and one green – leave one portion white.
Shape into 3/4 inch balls & roll in
granulated sugar; flatten gently with a
fork. Let candies stand, uncovered, at
room temperature, 1 day. Store in
airtight container. Makes 5 dozen



That’s all for today – 2 postings –
now THAT’S a first!




Published in: on December 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

and they just keep coming in!


Last night’s special needs group practice went WAY BETTER than I ever imagined! (I ran my little tush off, but it was worth it). We had invited those people who were attending church Wednesday to come, join our group (to give them an idea of what our group is all about and to meet some of us). I was totally amazed – we had, probably, 40+ people (lots of kids) come. (We’ve been practicing these 2 songs for almost 2-3 months now and, up to last week’s practice, it just wasn’t coming together – AT ALL!) The kids were AMAZING! I was SO PROUD of them! The cookies we served went over well (even had about 3-4 dozen leftover which we’re freezing for next week’s Christmas party and the actual performance). It was a GREAT night!


Buttermilk Pecan Pralines

1 C. buttermilk*
3 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. light corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 C. pecan halves
2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter

Line 2 large baking sheets with
waxed paper. In large (5 qt or
larger) pot, bring buttermilk,
sugar, corn syrup, baking soda
& salt to boil over medium heat.
Stir constantly until sugar has
dissolved & mixture reaches
236 degrees F. (soft ball stage).

NOTE: baking soda will make
mixture foam & rise as it begins
to boil-be careful.

Once mixture has reached softball
stage, remove from heat & stir in
pecans, vanilla & butter. Beat by
hand until mixture begins to hold
it’s own shape. It will be thick &
creamy – this can take awhile. Once
thickened, quickly drop by spoonfuls
onto waxed paper to let cool. Store
in airtight containers up to 2 weeks.
Makes 3 dozen candies

*if you don’t have buttermilk:
Using a 2 cup measuring cup, pour
1 T. lemon juice or vinegar in cup &
fill the rest of the cup with milk to
the 1 C. line. Stir & let set 5 minutes
and now you have buttermilk!


Crockpot Chicken Stuffing Casserole

10-12 chicken tenderloin pieces
1 T. poultry seasoning
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of celery soup
1 (6 oz) box (Stove Top) stuffing mix
for chicken
2 C. chicken broth

In bowl mix stuffing & broth. Place
tenderloin pieces in bottom of
crockpot; sprinkle poultry
seasoning on top & pour soup
over chicken – spread evenly.
Once stuffing has absorbed all
of chicken broth; pour evenly
on top. Cover & cook on Low
4-6 hours. Serves 4-6


Crockpot Steak Soup

2 1/2 lb. beef sirloin tip roast,
cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 T. canola oil
1 oz. pkg. dry onion soup mix
4 C. beef broth
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 C. uncooked wide egg noodles

Mix flour, salt/pepper in large ziplock
bag; add beef cubes. Seal bag & toss
until beef is well coated. In large, deep
skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat
& add beef. Saute until brown, about
6 minutes then place in crockpot.
Sprinkle dry soup mix evenly over beef.
In a bowl whisk broth, tomato paste &
Worc. sauce – pour over beef. Cover &
cook on Low 8 hours until beef is tender.
Add noodles – cover & cook 30 more
minutes until noodles are tender.
Serves 6


French Onion Meatballs

1 (24 – 32 oz) bag frozen meatballs
2 cans French onion soup

Combine ingredients in crockpot;
heat on High 2 hours or Low 4


Hashbrown Quiche

1 (24 oz) bag frozen shredded
hash brown potatoes*
2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
4 slices bacon
1/3 C. red onion, chopped
1/3 C. green pepper, chopped
5 eggs
1 1/3 C. Half & Half
1 C. sharp Cheddar cheese,

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place bag of frozen hash browns in
microwave 1-2 minutes to help
defrost. Heat large, deep skillet
on medium-high heat; melt 2 T.
butter in skillet. Add potatoes,
1/4 tsp. paprika & 1/4 tsp. season
salt, salt/pepper & allow potatoes
to cook through-making sure they
get a golden brown crispness. In
separate skillet fry bacon over
medium-high heat; when crisp,
place on paper towel to drain.
Discard all but 1 tsp. bacon
grease in pan. Saute onions &
green pepper in skillet over
medium-high heat, stirring
occasionally until tender. Spray
a 9 inch deep dish pie plate
with nonstick spray and pour
cooked hash browns into pan-
press into bottom & up sides
using the back of a measuring
cup. In large bowl add eggs &
1 1/3 C. Half & Half; whisk
together with a fork. Crumble
bacon & add to eggs along
with cooked onions & green
peppers. Add 1/4 tsp. smoked
paprika, salt/pepper & 1 C.
shredded Cheddar cheese; stir
to incorporate – pour mixture
over hash browns in pie plate.
Bake 45-55 minutes until center
is set & top is golden brown. Allow
to set 10 minutes, then cut &
serve. Serves 8


Hot Parmesan Green Chile
Popper Dip

2 T. panko bread crumbs
1/4 C. shredded Parmesan cheese,
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 C. Mexican-style cheese
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles,

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine bread crumbs & 1 T.
Parmesan. Mix remaining Parmesan
with remaining ingredients in
shallow ovenproof dish until
blended; top with crumb mixture.
Bake 15 minutes until top is golden
brown and dip is hot & bubbly
around edges.

(recipe: kraft recipes)

Pumpkin Gingerbread Crumble

2 1/4 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice,
1 C. butter, softened
1 1/4 C. sugar, divided
1/2 C. molasses, divided
1/2 C. old-fashioned or
quick-cooking oats
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 C. canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Line a 9 X 13″ baking dish with
foil, extending ends of foil
past edges (to use for handles).
Mix flour, baking powder &
1 tsp. pump. spice until blended.
Beat butter, 1 C. sugar & 1/4 C.
molasses in large bowl using
mixer until blended. Gradually
add flour mixture, mixing well after
each addition. Remove 1 C. dough;
place in medium bowl. Add oats
& mix with fingers or fork until
mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Press remaining dough onto bottom
of prepared pan. Beat cream cheese &
remaining sugar in medium bowl
using mixer until blended. Add
pumpkin, vanilla, remaining molasses
& spice; mix well. Blend in eggs; pour
over crust. Sprinkle with reserved
crumb mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes
until topping is golden brown. Cool
completely. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Use foil handles to lift from pan
before cutting into bars. Makes 24

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Cranberry Bliss Fudge

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. lemon zest (zest of 1/2 lemon)
1/4 tsp. salt
4 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C. white chocolate chips,
1/2 C. dried cranberries

1/2 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. dried cranberries
2 tsp. lemon zest (zest of 1/2 lemon)

Line an 8 X 8″ pan with waxed or
parchment paper, folding excess
paper over sides of pan & spray
lightly with nonstick spray. Using
stand or hand mixer, beat cream
cheese, milk, vanilla, lemon juice,
zest & salt together until smooth.
Gradually beat in powdered sugar,
1 cup at a time, stopping to scrape
bowl – mixture will begin to get
thicker. Melt white chocolate chips
in microwave (follow pkg. directions
for melting). When chocolate is
fully melted, let cool 5 minutes. Add
melted chocolate to sugar mixture &
hand-stir until completely combined.
Mixture will begin to get stiff; stir in
dried cranberries. Add fudge
mixture to pan & spread evenly. Top
with remaining white chocolate chips,
cranberries & lemon zest. Refrigerate
or freeze at least 4 hours before
cutting. Keep leftovers refrigerated or
frozen. Makes 18-24 servings


Marinated Fresh Veggie Salad

2 C. sliced celery
2 C. thinly sliced cauliflower
2 C. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 C. carrots, thinly sliced
2 C. sliced cucumbers
1 medium onion, thinly sliced &
separated into rings

3/4 C. olive oil
1/2 C. minced fresh parsley
3 T. white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/8 tsp. pepper

In large serving bowl combine
veggies. In small bowl, whisk
dressing ingredients & pour
over vegetables. Gently toss to
coat. Cover & refrigerate at least
2 hours or overnight. Serve with
slotted spoon. Serves 12 (3/4
C. each)


Lazy Lasagna for Six

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
1 C. water
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 (8 oz) pkg. no-cook lasagna noodles
4 C. (16 oz) shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 C. (12 oz) cottage cheese
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

In skillet cook meat & onion over medium
heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic
& cook 1 minute longer; drain. Stir in tomato
sauce, water, tomato paste, salt & oregano.
Spread 1/4th of meat mixture into ungreased
5 qt. crockpot. Arrange one third of noodles
over sauce (break noodles if necessary). Combine
cheeses; spoon 1/3 of mixture over noodles;
repeat layers twice. Top with remaining meat
sauce. Cover & cook on Low 4-5 hours or
until noodles are tender. Serves 8



Not much new – finished getting the
last invitations to the group Christmas
party ready to mail (for those parents
who’s kids are in group homes and don’t
always know when there’s a party). Not
really sure what I’ll be doing today – I’m
sort of drawn to begin dragging down
the decorations – we’ll see.

Hope your day is going SUPER!



AND – it worked!


Took the bottle of perfume (the one I ordered WRONG) to Walgreen’s and they were very nice – refund directly to my credit card, no problem! YAY! (The ‘correct’ perfume should be arriving in the next few days).  While at Walgreen’s I decided to take advantage of the fact that I probably should get some of the stocking stuffers – so I did. Lots of Slim Jim’s (the guys love them), some packets of cheese crackers, some Combo’s, some 5 – gum. Still need to remember to get some packets of twin-blade disposable razors (they’re all guys, remember?). Also remembered the 2 ‘stocking stuffers’ for my husband & I: His: Large Hershey’s dark chocolate candy bar, and me: large Mr. Goodbar (it’s our little ‘indulgence’). Also found an extension cord (the one with multiple 3-prong holes) for middle son’s laptop – for $5 – something!!! (I’ve been looking at them, and most come in around $12-14, so $5 was GREAT! Found it in the Christmas tree decorations/indoor-outdoor lights section).

Also got up early and baked 5 1/2 dozen cookies (choc. chip & peanut butter) for my special needs group “Practice” tonight. Almost . . . almost  got me in the mood for baking – but I’ll wait a bit on that. As you probably know (if you’ve read my blog last year) I usually bake a bunch of various cookies to have on hand (and some on a plate for our mail person), 3 holiday loaves of bread for our neighbors  and a “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” chocolate cake w/choc. frosting (tradition since the kids were little).

Car place called about youngest son’s car repairs – add another $300 or so (don’t even remember for WHAT! Husband knows) – car might/should be ready by this evening, depends on whether the 2 new tires come in early – sigh. Oh well, at least we’ll know he’s driving a ‘safe’ car instead of the 2 front tires almost bald, for starters, right? Nothing says Christmas like new tires (hehehe).


 Chocolate Crackled Cookies

1 1/4 C. firmly packed light brown
1 C. shortening
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
2 C. flour
6 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2/3 C. miniature semi-sweet
chocolate chips

1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. powdered sugar

Beat brown sugar, shortening &
vanilla in large bowl using elec.
mixer at medium speed until well
blended. Add eggs, beat until
fluffy. Stir flour, cocoa, salt & baking
soda in a bowl; gradually add to
shortening mixture, beating at
medium speed just until blended.
Stir in chocolate chips. Cover &
refrigerate 3 hours.

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Place granulated
sugar in a shallow dish &
powdered sugar in another
shallow dish (pie plate)
Shape dough into 1 1/4″ balls;
roll in gran. sugar then in
powdered sugar to coat
completely. Place 2 inches
apart on ungreased cookie
sheets. Bake 8-10  minutes
until cookies are set. Cool 2
minutes on sheet; remove
to wire rack to cool
completely. Makes 3 dozen


Cranberry Fluff

2 C. fresh cranberries, washed/
picked over
1/8 C. sugar
1 C. cranberry sauce
1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
1 small can pineapple tidbits
or crushed pineapple
1/2 bag miniature marshmallow
1 C. toasted, chopped pecans

Place cranberries in ziplock bag;
smash with a hammer. Sprinkle
sugar in bag, seal & refrigerate
1 hour.
About 1 hour before serving open
cranberry sauce can & break up
with a fork into small globs; add
smashed cranberries to bowl. Add
pecans, marshmallows, pineapple
& fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate
1 hour then serve.


Baked Meatball Wontons

24 premade frozen meatballs
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 T. powdered Ranch salad
dressing mix
1/2 T. milk
24 wonton wrappers*
1 egg, beaten
4 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
Place frozen meatballs in large
microwave-safe casserole dish.
Cover & microwave on High 5-6
minutes, stirring every 2 minutes
until heated through. Beat cream
cheese, ranch dressing mix & milk
until smooth.
For each wonton:
Place about 1 tsp. cream cheese
mixture in center of wonton, top
with a cooked meatball & moisten
edges with beaten egg. Bring two
corners up to meet on top of the
meatball; press to seal corners
then bring the other 2 corners
together – pinch together at top &
press seams together. Place on
cookie sheet & bake 10-12 minutes
until crispy & golden brown.
Makes 24

Note: wonton wrappers dry out
very quickly, be sure to keep
package & prepared wontons covered
with plastic wrap.

*you can find wonton wrappers in
the fresh vegetable section of grocery.


Make Ahead Unstuffed Shells

4 C. medium pasta shells, uncooked
1 lb. ground beef
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (8 oz) TUB cream cheese spread
1/3 C. chopped fresh basil
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
2 T. milk
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 C. shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Cook pasta as directed on pkg,
omitting salt. Brown meat in large
skillet;drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce &
simmer on medium heat 2 minutes-
remove from heat. Drain pasta. Mix
cream cheese spread, basil, Parmesan,
milk & Ital. seasoning in large bowl
until blended; stir in pasta. Spread
half of meat sauce on bottom of 9 X 13″
baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray.
Cover with layer of pasta  mixture &
remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle top
with mozz. cheese & cover with foil. *
Bake, covered, 40-45 minutes until
heated through, uncovering after
30 minutes. Serves 6

*At this point you can refrigerate
casserole up to 24 hours. If you are
NOT going to refrigerate, bake 30-40

(recipe: Kraft recipes)

Company’s Coming Breakfast
(overnight recipe)

1 (16 oz) pkg. frozen shredded
hashbrowns, thawed
1 onion, chopped/divided
1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned/
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms,
1/2 – 1 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 dozen (12) eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C. milk
salt/pepper, to taste
(optional: garlic salt, to taste)

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Spread hashbrowns in lightly
greased 9 X 9″ baking pan. Layer
ingredients as follows:
-half onion
-remaining onion
-green pepper

In separate bowl mix eggs, milk
& seasonings. Pour egg mixture
over top of casserole. Cover with
foil & refrigerate overnight.
In morning bake, covered, 45-60
minutes. Uncover & bake 15
minutes longer until golden &
a knife inserted into center comes
out clean. Serves 8-10

Chipotle Dip

1 C. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 C. shredded Monterray Jack
2 T. chipotle peppers in adobo
sauce, diced
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 C. cilantro, chopped
1 T. lime juice

tortilla or corn chips, for dipping

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Combine mayonnaise, cream cheese,
1 1/2 C. Monterray Jack cheese,
chopped chipotle peppers & garlic
powder in bowl; stir to combine.
Pour mixture into a 2 qt casserole
dish sprayed with nonstick spray.
Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven
& stir in cilantro & lime juice until
evenly imcorporated. Top with
remaining cheese & bake an
additional 3-5 minutes. Serve hot.

(recipe: I wash…you

Cinnamon Candied Almonds

2 eggs, separated (whites/yolks)-
you will just be using the whites
2 tsp. vanilla
5 C. dry roasted almonds
1 1/2 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 T. cinnamon

In large bowl beat 2 egg whites using
mixer or whisk until foamy but not yet
to the soft peak stage. Add vanilla &
almonds into whites, folding until each
almond is coated with egg. In a
separate bowl stir gran. sugar, brown
sugar, salt & cinnamon. Pour sugar
mixture into almonds; stir well to coat
each almond. Spray crockpot with
nonstick spray & pour almonds into
crockpot. Cover & cook on High 2 1/2
hours or Low 4-5 hours.
*Set a timer & stir almonds every
30 minutes.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment
paper. Pour almonds onto paper &
separate chunks of almonds. Let cool;
stor in airtight container. They should
stay good for several weeks.


Southwestern Cornbread Layered

1 (1 oz) pkg. (dry) ranch dressing mix
1 C. mayonnaise
1 C. sour cream
1 (8 oz) pkg. cornbread, prepared
2 (15 oz, ea) cans whole kernel corn,
2 (15 oz, ea) cans red kidney beans,
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
8 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled

optional topping: small sweet
jalapenos, halved & seeded

Prepare 8″ X 8″ pan of cornbread
accordg. to pkg. directions; cool.
Cut into large cubes & toast in
375 degrees F. oven about 10
minutes; remove from oven to
cool. Prepare dressing using first
3 ingredients.
Using 1/2 of cornbread, break into
smaller chunks & place in large glass
serving dish. Begin layering 1/2 of
ingredients (except cheese/bacon/
dressing) in order listed & repeat,
beginning again with remaining
cornbread. Spread top layer with
dressing & top with cheese & bacon
crumbles. Garnish with green onion
tops or small sweet jalapenos halved
& seeded. Refrigerate until serving time.

(recipe: Mike Suddaby-Facebook)

2-Egg Cake
(makes one 8″ layer cake)

1/2 C. shortening
1 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 C. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Cream shortening, sugar &
vanilla until light & fluffy.
Add eggs & beat thoroughly. Add
rest of ingredients alternately with
milk, mixing after each addition.

Pour into two greased and floured
8″ cake pans. Bake about 30
minutes or until a toothpick inserted
into center comes out clean.

(recipe: Lyn


Hope all is going well with all of
your holiday preparations. Haven’t
even started thinking of bringing
down the tree & decorations (the
family likes it – me: I’d just as soon
have one little tree & be done with
it – call me a Scrooge, if you will).

Enjoy your day!



Shopping – (almost) All Done!


Went out for a brief shopping trip & to the library. Ended up getting gas ($1.79/9) and stopping at the dollar store. Found something nice for the three young collage girls who occasionally help out in my special needs group – now I’m down to just one young man who also helps out. His present is super easy: he loves Hershey’s Cookies & Cream candy bars so I usually get him a really big one – that’s on my ‘to buy’ next week list. . . THEN it looks like I might actually be DONE with Christmas shopping! YAY! Middle son is getting all things he likes, youngest already GOT things he wanted/needed. . . but – we took his car in today & dropped it off at the dealership – probably needs a new tire & front end alignment (guess who’s paying for that). At least he’s still getting things he NEEDS! Only one I’m still waffling about is the grandson; got him a Minecraft (his favorite game) t-shirt but that’s ALL! His dad mentioned that P – – (something, something) card for his games, will have to be more specific on what game to get that.


Gingerbread Brownies

1 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. baking cocoa (unsweetened)
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 C. butter, melted/slightly
1/3 C. molasses
2 eggs, beaten

garnish: powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl combine flour,
sugar, baking soda, cocoa &
spices. In another bowl combine
butter, molasses & eggs. Add
butter mixture to flour mixture,
stirring just until combined. Spread
in a greased 9 X 13″ baking dish.
Bake 20 minutes. Cool in pan on
wire rack. Dust top with powdered
sugar & cut into squares.
Makes 2 dozen


Turkey Crescent Bites

2 tubes crescent rolls
1 C. chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
1/2 C. chopped onion
2 T. olive oil
2 1/2 C. chopped, cooked turkey
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. chopped dried cranberries

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in saute pan over
medium heat; add celery & onion-
saute until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add
chopped turkey, salt/pepper, sage &
garlic powder, stirring to combine.
Reduce heat to low & blend in cream
cheese until melted; remove from
heat & stir in chopped cranberries.
Unroll one pkg. crescent rolls & place
on a baking sheet. Using your fingers,
gently press seams together to seal.
Spread turkey mixture evenly over
dough, leaving about 1/2″ border
along edges. Unroll remaining pkg.
rolls & place on top of turkey
mixture; press edges together to seal;
gently press seams together. Bake 20
minutes until dough is golden brown.
Cut into small squares & serve*

*a pizza cutter makes quick work
of cutting


Mozzarella Stuffing Balls

3 C. cold stuffing*
2 oz. fresh Mozzarella cheese,
cut into 16 cubes
1 egg, beaten
1/3 C. panko bread crumbs
1/3 C. shredded Parmesan cheese
vegetable oil, for frying

Heat oil in deep pan.
Divide stuffing into 16 portions. Mix
panko bread crumbs & Parm. cheese
in small dish. Cup each portion around
a piece of Mozz. cheese using your
hand, then roll into a firm ball. Dip
ball into beaten egg & then into
panko/Parm mixture to coat throughly.
Fry balls in hot oil to cover until well

*If you do not have 3 C. stuffing:
Dice up enough Mozz. cheese to
fit into what you have & use equal
parts of panko & Parm. cheese.


Cake Mix Fudge

2 C. + 2 T. cake mix
2 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. butter (1 stick) cut into
4 pieces
1/4 C. milk
2/3 C. white chocolate chips
1/2 C. rainbow cake sprinkles
plus more for topping

Line a 8 X 8″ baking pan with
aluminum foil. In large microwaveable
bowl mix together cake mix
& powdered sugar – mix to make sure
there are no lumps. Add butter pieces
& milk but DO NOT STIR. Place bowl in microwave
2 minutes on High. Remove from oven & stir,
stirring until you get a thick batter. Add in
white chocolate chips – only stir to combine
as they will melt if you continue stirring. Add
in rainbow sprinkles, gently stirring – quickly.
(sprinkles will melt if you continue to stir
& they will turn into a muddy color – not
desirable). Quickly spread batter into
prepared pan & press to smooth out. Sprinkle
more rainbow sprinkles on top & press into
dough gently. Place dish in refrigerator & let
set 2 hours or overnight. Remove from fridge,
remove fudge, using foil, to a cutting board.
Remove foil & cut into squares.

(note: poster did say it was VERY sweet &
would probably appeal more to children
than adults)


Crockpot Chicken Parmesan &

2 (24 oz, ea) jars spaghetti sauce
(chunky tomato, garlic & onion)
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano

1 lb. penne pasta, cooked
3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese

Add chicken to crockpot; sprinkel
salt/pepper & oregano over chicken
then pour spaghetti sauce over.
Cover & cook on Low 6-8 hours
without opening lid. When done
cooking, prepare pasta as per
pkg. directions. While pasta is
cooking remove chicken from pot &
place on a plate – cut into bite-
sized pieces then add back to pot.
Drain pasta very well. Add pasta
to chicken & sauce; stir. Flatten
pasta out into an even layer;
sprinkle shredded cheese &
Parmesan on top. Cover & cook
15 minutes until cheese melts.
Serves 6


Spaghetti/Chicken/Bacon Dish

1 (12 oz) pkg. spaghetti, cooked/drained
3 C. cooked, chopped chicken
6 slices bacon, cooked/crumbled
1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 C. chicken stock
salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl mix chicken, spaghetti,
soup, chicken stock, some of bacon,
1 C. cheese & salt/pepper. Pour into
greased 9 X 13″ baking dish. Cover with
foil & bake 20 minutes. Uncover & top
with 1/2 C. cheese & rest of bacon. Bake
10 minutes more.


Crockpot Bean & Ham Soup
(OVERNIGHT recipe)

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 C. dried Navy beans
1 1/2 C. dried Northern white beans
4 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. black pepper
9 C. chicken broth
2 C. diced ham (or more)

Soak beans in 8 C. water overnight.
If using ‘quick soak’ method, bring beans
to a boil in 8 C. water, turn off heat, cover
& let set 1 hour; drain water before adding
to crockpot.
Mix all ingredients in crockpot & cook on
Low 9-10 hours. Discard bay leaf before
serving. Serves 8-10


Cranberry Apple Cobbler

2 (21 oz, ea) apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 C. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 C. dried cranberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. milk

vanilla ice cream – for serving

Preheat oven 375 degrees F.
Combine dry cake mix & butter in
elec. mixer bowl. Beat at Low
speed 1 minute, until crumble.
(it’s Ok to have a few large pieces
of butter in mixture). Remove 1 1/2
C. cake mixture to medium bowl; stir
in cranberries & cinnamon. To
remaining cake mixture add milk &
beat on Low until all dry mixture
is moist. Use a spoon to mix all
together (there will be some visible
pieces of butter – don’t over mix)
Place pie filling in microwaveable
bowl; heat in microwave until bubbly,
4-5 minutes, covered. Pour hot filling
into a 9 X 13″ baking dish. Top filling
with dollops of cake batter then
sprinkle top with cranberry topping
mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes until
topping is golden brown & cracks
appear dry. Cool 30 minutes.

(recipe: Recipes-Galore)
Cinnamon Roll Cake

from scratch
Serves 15

3 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. granulated sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 C. milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter,

Cinnamon Filling:
1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 C. packed light brown sugar
2 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon

2 C. powdered sugar
5 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

To make cake:
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 13″ pan (or line with
parchment paper or foil, grease
sides & bottom – set aside).
In large bowl whisk flour, salt,
sugar & baking powder; add milk,
eggs & vanilla – whisk until smooth.
Slowly add melted butter & whisk until
smooth. Spread batter into prepared
pan; set aside.

In medium bowl, beat butter using elec.
mixer until creamy. Add sugar, flour &
cinnamon; beat until fluffy, about 2
minutes (it will look crumbly at first, keep
beating, it will come together). Spread
filling over cake batter, leaving at least
1 inch space from edge of pan; swirl
gently using a rubber spatula. Bake
28-32 minutes until toothpick inserted
into cake comes out clean. Cool cake
15 minutes; pour glaze over cake &
spread evenly.

Using medium bowl, mix powdered
sugar, vanilla & milk; whisk together
until smooth & of drizzling consistency;
spread over still warm cake. Keep
covered in room temperature up to 3


Cranberry Apple Stuffing

1/2 C. butter
2 C. chopped celery
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 tsp. thyme leaves, crushed
1 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
1 tsp. parsley flakes
2 red tart apples, cored/chopped
1 1/4 C. dried cranberries
1 tsp. grated orange peel (optional)
4 C. unseasoned dry bread cubes
1 C. chicken broth

Preheat oven 325 degrees F.
In skillet melt butter; add celery,
onions & saute 5 minutes. Remove from
heat; stir in next 5 ingredients & orange
peel, if using. Place bread cubes in large
bowl; stir in skillet mixture. Add broth;
toss to combine. Place in 9 X 13″ baking
dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Cover &
bake 35-40 minutes. Makes 8 (1 C. ea)

(recipe: Rhonda G-Marys Recipe Exchange)

Our weather is still holding at CLEAR,
in low 40’s (feels like low 30’s) & over-
cast – happy with that as long as there’s
no ‘white stuff’ falling or on the ground,

Hope your day turns out BETTER than
you expected!